While I watch my children run along the shoreline, dipping in and out of the water—testing their boldness, I can’t help but envy them. So young and so innocent. At this moment as the water comes crashing around them they are faced with a decision; to jump on in or let it gather around their feet. My older ones seem to know no fear and jump in—despite the popular shark video circulating local Facebook posts of the sharks off coast at Myrtle Beach last week. My younger one seems to want me to hold his hand and walk him only far enough so that he can see how deep the water gets on him. He doesn’t go further and he doesn’t go backwards. He finds his comfort zone and that’s exactly how far he will go, but isn’t that us? We find exactly how far we can go and that’s as far as we go. We get comfortable, we settle and move forward. So today, as I watch the blue horizon and the ships out for sail, I see that we could be the ship. We are grounded on the shore, we test our limits by only going so far and when we see that we can’t go further, we settle. That’s a choice. You can go as far as you want. You can master the ocean and sail anywhere you want—but how much effort and time are you going to put in to it? Do you test your limitations by trying and failing once, or do you test your limitations and fail multiple times only to finally succeed? Somebody once told me that ‘if success doesn’t come to you naturally, then you go out and make it yourself’. So, if you are faced with an ocean in your life—don’t keep your feet planted in the sand—jump on out there and swim! (This is metaphorical. Don’t really swim out in the ocean as far as you can. There are sharks!)
I had the privilege to bring in the New Year last night with my wife. What would have been a joyous celebration and hope and excitement for the upcoming year, became more of a reflection on the things that happened in the year 2015. My wife lost her grandmother, her aunt, her father came down with stage 4 cancer, and my dad was severely hurt in an accident and then our miscarriage at the end of the year. We cried some and it was good. But 2015 also brought in a lot of good stuff, our 3 foster children, I got a job promotion, we funded and shot a movie that will be out this year, the release of my book, we went to the beach, we continued to have a house, two cars and food to eat and more importantly we still had each other. So, I don’t know what you are going through. I don’t know what mistakes you’ve made or what skeletons are in your closet – we all have them – but the New Year is a time to start fresh. It’s a time to count your blessings and move forward. It’s a time to work toward something bigger – rather it be buying a house or getting a promotion. The New Year is about building friendships, long-lasting friendships. It’s about forgiveness and letting go of the past. It’s about enjoying the little things, like a cup of cappuccino on your drive to work or perhaps, sitting and looking at the fire in your fire place. It’s about making new goals and pursuing them. It’s about waking up every morning and forgiving yourself and pursuing to be a better person. It’s about loving your family, loving your job and loving your LIFE. It’s about being thankful and not taking things for granted. It’s about fresh baked pizza with stringy gooey cheese and a nice ice cold glass of coke and seeing Star Wars for the 5th time. It’s about being HAPPY. Don’t let 2016 go to waste. Don’t allow the bad times to keep you from moving forward. Don’t give in to hate or fear or paranoia. Just be free! Happy New Year.